Faith/fans win as priests play Marquette high school basketball team

Prayer huddle after basketball game between priests and seminarians of the Diocese of Peoria and Ottawa's Marquette Academy High School Crusaders on March 25. Marquette Academy/Julie Verona

Ottawa — On March 25, the Marquette Academy Grade School gym was packed and members of the community were excited to see the basketball game between their own Marquette High School Crusaders, and the priests and seminarians of the Diocese of Peoria.

Game action as the “men in black” try to break free of the Crusaders’ stifling defense. Diocese of Peoria/Carla Wizieck

It was a close contest but after the final buzzer the scoreboard told the tale: Marquette 45, priests 44.

Marquette Academy/Julie Verona

However, on this Monday evening of Holy Week, the big winner was the family of faith at Marquette Academy — and by extension the wider Ottawa community.  All proceeds from the gate, concessions and a 50/50 draw (the winner donated it back), will support retreats run by the Marquette campus ministry.

Here, Father Austin Bosse is either blessing Deacon Jacob Martini, or offering pre-absolution (fyi: there’s no such thing) for any fouls he may commit during the game. Deacon Martini, a native of Ottawa and alumnus of Marquette Academy, will be ordained to the priesthood on May 27 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Marquette Academy/Julie Verona

Priests and seminarians taking part were: Father Chase Hilgenbrinck, Father Daniel Dionesotes, Father Patrick Wille, Father Nic Wilson, Deacon Jacob Martini, Deacon Nick Conner, and seminarians Francis Strong, Blake Miller, Anthony Willi, Jarod Raber and Brennen O’Keeffe.

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